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Western Interview Discussion 2016

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I've heard the first question they ask as soon as you sit down is "why do you want to attend Schulich medicine"...

 

As always, specifics coming out about interview questions, including order, should be taken with a grain of salt. Everyone involved in the process has signed a confidentiality agreement, so any information coming out is either due to someone breaching that agreement or are unsubstantiated rumors. Try to go into your interviews with an open mind, ready for any questions that may come up  ^_^

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Excerpts below are from posts above; does anyone agree or could enlighten how/why the new MCAT CARS requirements were set so high?

 

>2 rejections (Western/Ottawa) in one day.. I feel sick to my stomach...  
>Missed it by one point in CARS. >I just wanted to say I'm sorry this year's process at Western worked against you...
>The new MCAT cutoffs are a little nuts, I'm sorry to those who missed it by one or two points...
>Was not expecting the sudden MCAT change...
>That CARS cutoff though...
>I didn't expect an invite, but also didn't expect a 130 subscore requirement! JEEZ!
>Pretty shocked by the 130 minimum in CARS..
>Missed the new  MCAT cutoff by one point...
>Western has the most tragically flawed system for med admissions in Ontario.
 
As non-sw requirement set by Western for old MCAT VR is 10; that is 84 percentile, but they set new MCAT CARS to 130 (97 percentile); so high? CARS requirement should have been lower.
(%tile CARS band ref AAMC)
 
So how did Western set the requirements for new MCAT CARS so high and incomparable 130?? The sentiments reflected in posts above states all.
Even A2Apple requirement score would at most be 128 (87%), even should be lower considering factors as below that: 
- the new MCAT is difficult; the content that needs to be reviewed is much broader and more difficult than old MCAT; 
- the new MCAT is twice as long compared with old MCAT,
- the new MCAT has heavier section on biochemistry, and
- the new MCAT has newly added fourth section on behavioral, psychology and sociology (factors as felt/observed by most including comment/article on internet), and for those new domains, students might not have had the chance to plan well in advance when selecting their schools and courses. Furthermore Psych/Soc section had so much uncertainty and no data on the new section was available this year. The logical comparable CARS requirement to old VR should have been 127?

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for the millionth time, WESTERN DOES NOT SET THE CUTOFFS. The cutoffs are set by the applicant pool, so that x amount of the pool gets interviewed. They can't "lower" the cutoff because then they'd have to interview 1000 people instead of 450.

 

The old cutoff is lower because less people are applying with that score, and the better scores have already been accepted in previous years.

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for the millionth time, WESTERN DOES NOT SET THE CUTOFFS. The cutoffs are set by the applicant pool, so that x amount of the pool gets interviewed. They can't "lower" the cutoff because then they'd have to interview 1000 people instead of 450.

 

The old cutoff is lower because less people are applying with that score, and the better scores have already been accepted in previous years.

Also for the millionth time, Western does effectively set cutoffs this cycle by varying the proportion of interviewees from each of the two applicant pools (old MCAT and new MCAT).

 

If Western chose to interview fewer old MCAT applicants, the scores would be more even.

 

For any cycle where old and new MCATs will be compared, the cutoff level will not be solely determined by the desired number of interviewees but will also be the result of a separate decision on Western's part.

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for the millionth time, WESTERN DOES NOT SET THE CUTOFFS. The cutoffs are set by the applicant pool, so that x amount of the pool gets interviewed. They can't "lower" the cutoff because then they'd have to interview 1000 people instead of 450.

 

The old cutoff is lower because less people are applying with that score, and the better scores have already been accepted in previous years.

 

 

Also for the millionth time, Western does effectively set cutoffs this cycle by varying the proportion of interviewees from each of the two applicant pools (old MCAT and new MCAT).

 

If Western chose to interview fewer old MCAT applicants, the scores would be more even.

 

For any cycle where old and new MCATs will be compared, the cutoff level will not be solely determined by the desired number of interviewees but will also be the result of a separate decision on Western's part.

 

Probably a bit of truth both ways here. Western does choose its cutoffs based on the applicant pool, but with the new MCAT and Western's decision to allow both MCATs, unless a direct comparison between both versions could be made, cutoff decisions would require a choice with respect to how many applicants who wrote each MCAT would get an interview. Despite the obvious disparity between the old and new MCAT cutoffs, the school does seem to have tried to make as close a comparison as possible while keeping their ultimate goal of getting the right number of interviews. The problem seems to boil down to granularity of the MCAT scores. Going up or down on the VR/CARS score would rule in or out a large number of applicants, resulting in either too many total interviews, too few total interviews, or an even worse imbalance in interviews between the two groups.

 

Because of this conflict, I thought Western would only accept the new MCAT this cycle, but as they (understandably) chose to accept both, I can easily see the current split being the fairest outcome given the other constraints of the interview selection process, even though it may be the best choice out of a number of bad choices.

 

Does anyone have a confirmed number of interviewees for Western? I was told by a student rep that 25 people interview per time slot (meaning 400 total), but I wasn't sure if the 25 people per time slot was just an estimate.

 

No confirmed numbers, only Western officials will know that, but Western typically interviews around or just above 400 applicants and this year appears to be no exception.

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Because of the conversational tone, it's easy to overanalyze this interview once you're done.
A common thought process I've had aligned with that classic "What are my chances" sticky;
Confident walking out, then crippling doubt, and further oscillations between the two.
It's out of your hands, enjoy the new freedom from appraisal.

Also in case there is even one premed out there worrying; Western vs UWO is a branding thing, it shouldn't influence any decisions (others feel free to correct this thinking).

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Excerpts below are from posts above; does anyone agree or could enlighten how/why the new MCAT CARS requirements were set so high?

 

>The new MCAT cutoffs are a little nuts, I'm sorry to those who missed it by

Even A2Apple requirement score would at most be 128 (87%), even should be lower considering factors that: 

- the new MCAT is difficult; the content that needs to be reviewed is much broader and more difficult than old MCAT; 

- the new MCAT is twice as long compared with old MCAT,

- the new MCAT has heavier section on biochemistry, and

- the new MCAT has newly added fourth section on behavioral, psychology and sociology (factors as felt/observed by most including comment/article on internet), and for those new domains, students might not have had the chance to plan well in advance when selecting their schools and courses. Furthermore Psych/Soc section had so much uncertainty and no data on the new section was available this year. The logical comparable CARS requirement to old VR should have been 127?

I just wanted to clarify a few of your statements:

1. All of the reasons you listed as to why the new mcat score should be given more weight are irrelevant because the scores are percentile based. The biggest thing about the mcat is the it compares you to how others do on the same day. Therefore, the fact that the test was longer, etc. will impact everyone, and the percentile method accounts for that.

2. I don't know why the old MCAT dropped to a 10, but traditionally it was always an 11, which I believe is roughly 90-95th percentile (a 12 was 98th when I wrote). So 97th is not that far from what it has traditionally been.

 

Also, to answer someone else's question, I believe it is closer to 450-480 people interviewed.

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I feel ya. I'm currently going through the exact same thing.

Right up until the interview, I was feeling confident and relaxed (in large part to my transporter, so thank you!), but as soon as I walked into the room, I was paralyzed with nerves.

It was pretty bad, I was so rigid I feel like it physically impacted my ability to speak. I only managed to loosen up at the very end.

I think I gave extremely vague / generic answers for many of the questions, but did get the opportunity to talk about most of the life experiences I wanted to talk about.

I wasn't as articulate as I wanted to be... perhaps said "umm" and "like" a few too many times...

All in all, I think I did the best I could given that this was my first time interviewing for med school and I'm naturally not a strong interviewer.

On a positive note, I really enjoyed the weekend overall. Loved chatting with current students, and can only hope I'll be able to join you guys next year!

Also great job with the admissions video, definitely identified with the protagonist and lol'd quite a few times.

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I too feel that I gave extremely vague/ generic answers, since my interviewers kept on probing me for more details, even though I wasn't sure how exactly I could have given more details. I also struggled to understand scenario questions and felt that they weren't truly scenarios like the MMI sense. On top of that, I slept for like 5 hours the night before and my thoughts were cloudy the whole time. There were literally times when I was like "uhhhhh" for a solid 10 seconds only to produce an incoherent and mildly relevant response. It was also my fault for going into this interview completely blind (no preparation for "tell my about a time" questions) since I've been so busy with other stuff in my life.

Overall, I would say the interview was pretty cringy LOL. I don't think there was a single question that I answered well. Mid-way through the interview I began to feel bad for my interviewers for having to put up with me for the entire 45 min LOL. It was so bad to the point where I would be quite sure they've made a mistake if I was somehow even waitlisted. It was basically a throw-away.  :P

 

I got to see London and Western for the first time though, so that was nice.  :)

 

It also made me feel 10x about all my other interviews 

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I too feel that I gave extremely vague/ generic answers, since my interviewers kept on probing me for more details, even though I wasn't sure how exactly I could have given more details. I also struggled to understand scenario questions and felt that they weren't truly scenarios like the MMI sense. On top of that, I slept for like 5 hours the night before and my thoughts were cloudy the whole time. There were literally times when I was like "uhhhhh" for a solid 10 seconds only to produce an incoherent and mildly relevant response. It was also my fault for going into this interview completely blind (no preparation for "tell my about a time" questions) since I've been so busy with other stuff in my life.

Overall, I would say the interview was pretty cringy LOL. I don't think there was a single question that I answered well. Mid-way through the interview I began to feel bad for my interviewers for having to put up with me for the until 45 min LOL. It was so bad to the point where I would be quite sure they've made a mistake if I was somehow even waitlisted. It was basically a throw-away.  :P

 

I got to see London and Western for the first time though, so that was nice.  :)

 

It also made me feel 10x about all my other interviews 

 

This is literally me. This is very close to what happened when I interviewed in March. :(

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I feel ya. I'm currently going through the exact same thing.

Right up until the interview, I was feeling confident and relaxed (in large part to my transporter, so thank you!), but as soon as I walked into the room, I was paralyzed with nerves.

It was pretty bad, I was so rigid I feel like it physically impacted my ability to speak. I only managed to loosen up at the very end.

I think I gave extremely vague / generic answers for many of the questions, but did get the opportunity to talk about most of the life experiences I wanted to talk about.

I wasn't as articulate as I wanted to be... perhaps said "umm" and "like" a few too many times...

All in all, I think I did the best I could given that this was my first time interviewing for med school and I'm naturally not a strong interviewer.

On a positive note, I really enjoyed the weekend overall. Loved chatting with current students, and can only hope I'll be able to join you guys next year!

Also great job with the admissions video, definitely identified with the protagonist and lol'd quite a few times.

I agree with all you guys. Western does such an excellent job of making you feel relaxed before the interview. I felt as though I was at a house party at times. But then once you are led down that long hallway and the interview begins, it's all nerves.I definitely could have said "ummm" fewer times and I could have provided more specific examples.

 

Also, that interview video was one of the funniest I have seen from any school in the past years! 

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I'm gonna go out on a limb and say I actually felt really good about my interview -- and I even still feel good about it today, shockingly.

 

I was nervous about the fact that it was closed file, but in the end I really liked that part of it because it gave me a chance to really frame my own story. I have an unusual background and sometimes it leads people to make assumptions about why I veered into medicine, so I liked the opportunity to start fresh in describing what I think is most important about my experience, goals and motivations.

 

I appreciated that the interviewers would add details to or rephrase questions when they saw I was hesitating or having trouble finding an example. It felt like they truly wanted me to do my best.

 

I also agree that the video was hilarious -- and very skillfully done! Looking forward for it going going on Youtube to look at it again.

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